Risk

2/1/2008
05:35 PM
Thomas Claburn
Thomas Claburn
Commentary
Connect Directly
Google+
LinkedIn
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Forget Terrorists. Watch Out For Backhoes

Terrorists may represent some danger to power plants, but human carelessness is far more likely to damage critical infrastructure. Given the events of the past few days, it's hard to believe that al-Qaida would even bother plotting to take down the Internet or a power station when everyday bumbling does the job for them.

Terrorists may represent some danger to power plants, but human carelessness is far more likely to damage critical infrastructure. Given the events of the past few days, it's hard to believe that al-Qaida would even bother plotting to take down the Internet or a power station when everyday bumbling does the job for them.On Friday, Flag Telecom said that a second undersea telecom cable had been cut, magnifying the disruption of Internet traffic in Egypt, India, and other nations in the Middle East that began Wednesday when a different cable was cut. Repairs are expected to take a week.

Flag didn't say what severed its cables. Conspiracy theorists no doubt will suggest an intelligence service or terrorist organization is behind the incident, but plain, old incompetence is a more probable suspect. (You dropped your anchor where???)

There is, after all, precedence for stupidity. In September, a backhoe cut a number of underground fiber optic subterranean cables in Thailand, temporarily limiting Internet access. In September 2005, utility workers in Los Angeles dug in the wrong place and left almost 2 million people without power.

As a paper on the reliability of fiber optic cables points out, "the highest failure mode is 'backhoe blackout.' "

It's time for the TSA to start looking for backhoe ignition keys.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Cybersecurity's 'Broken' Hiring Process
Kelly Jackson Higgins, Executive Editor at Dark Reading,  10/11/2017
How Systematic Lying Can Improve Your Security
Lance Cottrell, Chief Scientist, Ntrepid,  10/11/2017
Ransomware Grabs Headlines but BEC May Be a Bigger Threat
Marc Wilczek, Digital Strategist & CIO Advisor,  10/12/2017
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: This comment is waiting for review by our moderators.
Current Issue
Security Vulnerabilities: The Next Wave
Just when you thought it was safe, researchers have unveiled a new round of IT security flaws. Is your enterprise ready?
Flash Poll
The State of Ransomware
The State of Ransomware
Ransomware has become one of the most prevalent new cybersecurity threats faced by today's enterprises. This new report from Dark Reading includes feedback from IT and IT security professionals about their organization's ransomware experiences, defense plans, and malware challenges. Find out what they had to say!
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2017-0290
Published: 2017-05-09
NScript in mpengine in Microsoft Malware Protection Engine with Engine Version before 1.1.13704.0, as used in Windows Defender and other products, allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code or cause a denial of service (type confusion and application crash) via crafted JavaScript code within ...

CVE-2016-10369
Published: 2017-05-08
unixsocket.c in lxterminal through 0.3.0 insecurely uses /tmp for a socket file, allowing a local user to cause a denial of service (preventing terminal launch), or possibly have other impact (bypassing terminal access control).

CVE-2016-8202
Published: 2017-05-08
A privilege escalation vulnerability in Brocade Fibre Channel SAN products running Brocade Fabric OS (FOS) releases earlier than v7.4.1d and v8.0.1b could allow an authenticated attacker to elevate the privileges of user accounts accessing the system via command line interface. With affected version...

CVE-2016-8209
Published: 2017-05-08
Improper checks for unusual or exceptional conditions in Brocade NetIron 05.8.00 and later releases up to and including 06.1.00, when the Management Module is continuously scanned on port 22, may allow attackers to cause a denial of service (crash and reload) of the management module.

CVE-2017-0890
Published: 2017-05-08
Nextcloud Server before 11.0.3 is vulnerable to an inadequate escaping leading to a XSS vulnerability in the search module. To be exploitable a user has to write or paste malicious content into the search dialogue.